Wedding Trends and Survival Tips

SW Lake Lifestyle Presents a Guide for Planning a Stylish, Successful Wedding

Article by Kimberly Blaker

Photography by Kasia Vetter

Originally published in SW Lake Lifestyle

With catering, flowers, music, and a myriad of details to arrange, wedding planning is exhilarating and anxiety-provoking. Discover the latest trends, follow these tips to reduce stress and enjoy the time leading up to the big day. Remember, too, that hiring a planner can not only ensure all the details are taken care of, but ensure the day is truly special.

Ceremony and Reception Site

Weekday ceremonies are more popular than ever. This is especially true for those who've been married before. Off-day weddings can substantially reduce overall costs. Whatever day you choose, unlimited options are available for your ceremony and reception sites as long as couples plan well in advance. If you belong to a church, you can ask your pastor to be your wedding officiant, as well as inquire about using the church for the ceremony. If you prefer a more secular ceremony, contact city hall for a list of judges who perform weddings. Before you commit to a site or officiant, talk about the ceremony and exchanging of vows. Ask what fees the facility and officiant charge, how many guests may attend and what decorations are permitted.

When planning the reception, keep in mind facilities book way in advance; popular venues can be booked years ahead of time, particularly for Saturdays. Choose a reception location with plenty of parking space, an adequate dance floor, and power outlets. Also, ask about facility restrictions and options on caterer, florist and entertainment.


Ethnic cuisines for receptions have grown in popularity, with many choices sure to please a wedding party and guests. Traditional Japanese, Indian, Mexican, Middle Eastern, and Italian are all excellent choices. Another trend is for couples to create a multicultural menu combining traditional dishes from both family's home countries, making for a delightful feast. How about brunch? Since daytime weddings are less expensive than evening, this has become quite popular and could result in savings on your menu.

Before meeting with a caterer, decide the dishes you’d like to serve. When you meet, ask to see photos of the foods. Don’t rule out a plated dinner but check the cost. The price difference between that and a buffet could be closer than you think. Also, discuss how the food will be served and server attire. Get a written quote that includes costs of the food, beverages, alcohol, service, decorating, set up and clean up, and the number of people to be served.

The Wedding Cake

Wedding cakes are more delicious than ever with a broader array of fillings and frostings to choose from. The hottest trend is statement cakes: rather than serving multiple desserts, splurge on one big cake as a focal point. Still, many couples opt for simpler one-tiered cakes, offering guests an array of tasty desserts to choose from. Popular cake designs include rosettes, metallics, ruffles, monograms, geometric designs and even painted cakes. When you meet with the baker take photos with you of some of your favorite designs. Ask to see pictures of the baker's designs also. Be sure to discuss budget and the number of guests with the baker. Also, do a tasting to determine what you like best, and ask about delivery.


Theme music for wedding receptions has become very popular, ranging from ethnic to movie soundtracks. Ballroom dancing is on the rise, as is classic music from a particular genre or era. A particularly hot trend is performance acts. Performances run from about 20 -30 minutes during the set break or with the band performing in the background. Acts range from a choreographed dance show to acrobats to fire dancers.

Don't forget the music for your wedding ceremony, too. Before making your selections, check on facility regulations. Also, listen to the musicians perform to ensure they're what you want. Discuss a playlist, attire, breaks, and costs, including overtime.


Bold colors continue to be popular. Couples are also choosing rich color palettes that set a romantic, emotional tone for the day. Berry colors mixed with white are trending, too. For bouquets, minimalism is in. A single flower with a lovely display of greenery and small bouquets are quite popular.

Before you meet with your florist, make a list of your flower preferences and dislikes. Also compile a list of floral needs, including the bouquet, boutonnières, hair flowers, bridesmaid bouquets, corsages, and wedding and reception arrangements. Include the quantity you'll need of each. Discuss colors with your florist and make sure bridesmaids' bouquets complement, but not match, dresses. Ask about substitution policies, freshness guarantees, any charges for consults, flowers, decorations and delivery.


Photojournalism is quite popular in wedding photography. For a first step decide between traditional posed photographs and candid shots by a photojournalist (or both). You may also want to consider having your special moment captured on video. Whatever you choose, make sure your contract includes the number of hours for shooting or filming and the number of shots. (If “real” film is requested be sure to know ahead of time how many rolls will be used.) It should also include package details, including the number and sizes of photos, and costs. Also, check with your wedding facility for any restrictions on photography. Then, a few days before your wedding, send your photographer a list of the wedding party, close family and friends, and specific photos you want taken.


Many couples are designing their invitations themselves. If this isn't your thing, don't worry. You'll be able to choose among a variety of templates and styles provided by a stationer. When you visit, ask to see samples of paper types, invitation styles, and the colors available. Make your selection according to the formality of your wedding. Also, ask if the stationer can print maps and directions and do folding and inserting. Decide whether you'll include your reception details on enclosures or the ceremony invitation and how to handle RSVPs. Before placing an order, make sure the guest list is complete. Have both families review the order to avoid errors.

Wedding Attire

The search for a wedding gown is likely to be a significant journey. A reputable bridal shop is the best bet. Polka dots for a wedding dress? If there’s a will there’s a way! Features that are especially hot right now include regal capes, large bows, off-the-shoulder necklines and sleeves, body-hugging silhouettes, and minimal embellishments. When trying on a gown, make sure you can stretch arms, sit, walk (and dance!) comfortably.

The contract for a gown should include cost, alterations, delivery date, and gown details, including color, fabric, and the designer and style number of the dress. Don’t forget your veil or hairpiece, shoes, jewelry, purse, gloves, and lingerie, too. As for bridesmaid's dresses, these are becoming less of a burden for the bride-to-be. Bridesmaids still wear the same color gowns, but current trends allow each bridesmaid to choose her style. Tea-length dresses are particularly popular right now as well as two-piece ensembles.

Grooms are also becoming more involved in planning their weddings and choosing a tuxedo or suit. Brides should offer guidance but the final decision rests with the groom.


When registering for gifts, don’t forget to include your partner. If registering with a fine shop, be sure to also register at a moderately priced store to accommodate all the guests.

When the Big Day Arrives

As the wedding day draws near, expect the unexpected, and don’t let surprises be upsetting. In all the hustle and bustle, remember the most important part of a wedding isn’t the details of the ceremony but the commitment a couple makes to each other. Keeping that in mind on a wedding day will ensure its success regardless of any bumps on the journey.

“I hope you don’t mind that I put down in words how wonderful life is while you’re in the world.” — Elton John & Bernie Taupin

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